Fun With The Button Tin

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When we visited Clarens in December I saw something in one of the craft shops which I just had to try!

The Inspiration Button Rings
The inspiration, button rings

So here goes with a DIY project to start the year. As I prefer wearing a brooch on a jacket, I decided to attempt making brooches with buttons.

You will need :

4-5  Buttons ranging in size from big to small in colours of your choice.

Needle and thread in a matching colour.

Brooch back ( available at sewing and craft stores ).

Glue to attach the brooch back to the buttons.

Sew the buttons onto one another, starting with the biggest and ending with the smallest.

Glue the brooch back onto the finished product, wait to dry and wear on a jacket.

Button Tin Memories

The button tin sits in a far corner of my messy sewing drawer, waiting to be opened and scratched in for that one button which can replace the missing or broken one on a shirt, or a blouse  in a hurry.While searching for the right button, I started thinking about this seemingly unimportant object called a button and wondered where it all started?

The first evidence of the use of buttons dates back to 2000 B C , when they were intially used as ornaments. Use of buttons as fasteners only developed much later and then only wealthy people could afford to wear them. The number of buttons and the material they were made of became a status symbol of the rich. The most fascinating story about buttons I came across, is that  King Frederick The Great of Prussia, started the practice of  men’s suit coats having non-functioning buttons sewn on the sleeves in the 18th century. The rumor goes that after an inspection of his troops, he ordered  buttons to be sewn on the sleeves of their coats to discourage them from wiping their noses on them!

Read more here:

Here it is, the button tin waiting to yield just the right button for my shirt.

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Is it waiting for eager  children’s hands to open it and play with the treasures inside?

Some of my most treasured childhood memories are of the days, usually in winter, when  my mother took out all the long left behind in the business of life, sewing and mending projects. ( She still darned socks !) Those were the days when we could play with her button tin, while she sat sewing.


We would  open  the tin  with great anticipation  and  the buttons spilled out in a mix of colours and and sizes. Little hands lined them up in rows like soldiers on a march or sorted them  according to colour and  size. There they were, an array of  treasures which could transform a simple hairband into a princess’s crown, or become the eyes on a clumsily handmade doll or teddy. Big round ones could be wheels of a cardboard train, shiny ones became jewels around a smart lady’s neck or coins to go shopping with. They taught us colours , size and the meaning of numbers.

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Maybe one day I can teach my grandchildren the joys of a button tin!


Is it waiting to be used in the next craft project ?

Each time I buy a new dress, coat or shirt which have an extra button, it finds  a place in the button tin untill  I need it.  I love buying buttons and  the  buttons I buy join the others in the button tin untill that day when it becomes the last piece in the puzzle of a craft project be it mosaic, handmade cards, knitted mittens and many more.



Is it waiting to give new life to an old  coat or hand me down jacket?

Lately I have been fascinated  by the trend to wear second hand clothes and found a wonderful velvet coat which belonged to my mother. A few new buttons later and I had a coat which earned many compliments.

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What do you do with all the buttons accumulated in your house?